Archive for the ‘Carpe Diem’ Category


Dear friends, I have passed the human sell-by date, and am now completely aged. Sunday was my SEVENTIETH birthday.
In my 60’s I was able to feel as one of the madding throng–for instance, Google didn’t automatically cut me off when I entered my birth date on their little polls, at least not always–but now–! Well, well, who wants to hear what kind of coffin I am shopping for.
However, it was a grand birthday weekend! Family and friends rallied round, and my grandson was particularly winsome. Flowers, chocolate, wine, all came flowing in the door! My younger son gave me a set of antique postcards, each not only carefully addressed to one of my 5 children, but STAMPED too. That boy is a wonder.

Every year from now on is a blessing. Extra, don’t you know. You will say, but HOPE–70 is the new 60! But somehow I feel sure that 70 is 70.

So, I shall try to treat each new day as the miraculous gift it is–listen to the birds in the morning, and watch the leaves growing on the trees, and remember as much as I can of the years that came before, and enjoy as much as I can of the years to come.
Precious time, each day running by so swiftly.

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Today the kindly bus driver greeted me and said he’d missed me yesterday–I said I had been ill, and thanked him. A courteous gesture, pleasing to the person who lives alone–I honor his thoughtfulness!
Yesterday was NOT a good day, my insides were behaving badly and my mind could not rest what with all the turmoil. This interesting session started at 3 in the morning and ended promptly at 8. I had a cup of tea and then worked from home, Bertie on my lap for much of the time. Cats LOVE it when I am unwell.
Today I read a story in the paper about a family cursed with a genealogical flaw that predisposes them to stomach cancer. Now that they know, and can be tested for the gene, some of them are electing to–HAVE THEIR STOMACHS REMOVED. How do they eat, you ask? With difficulty.
But at least they’re alive, you see. Things could always be worse. Always.

Chin UP little buddy!

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Returning to work after a charming Thanksgiving break, I find that we are approaching the end of 2017–LORDIE! What happened? How could one year fly by so quickly?

ACCOMPLISHMENTS: I’m sure we have all added a goodly score to burnish our fabulous resumes over the year! I for one have not only become expert in hose-mending and crib assembling, but also can now triumphantly identify which circuit breaker on my antique electric service panel controls the oh-so-temperamental stove! A learning process which involved switching the wrong breaker first–and doing this, shamingly, many times– thus bringing the entire house electronic system to its knees. Which leads to another shining accomplishment: rebooting all the electronics! I am VERY expert in that now.

A follow-up discovery that I have made is that whatever little task you decide to do–whether replacing a malfunctioning device or mending a sweater–there will always be an unforeseen task that must be completed first without which you cannot proceed–and usually, it involves a trip to the hardware store, thus ensuring that hours will be spent on a task which one had lightly assumed would be done before lunch.

And as we enter the festive holiday season, let me remind you about a VERY Important Seasonal Accomplishment: Wise Storage of Christmas Lights. It’s no use blaming the eggnog, the raucous children, your latest video game–this task must be done well, or there will be tears and vituperation next year. A trip to the hardware store for the appropriate storage devices is usually necessary.


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The witch that came (the withered hag)
To wash the steps with pail and rag
Was once the beauty Abishag,

The picture pride of Hollywood.
Too many fall from great and good
For you to doubt the likelihood.

Die early and avoid the fate.
Or if predestined to die late,
Make up your mind to die in state.

Make the whole stock exchange your own!
If need be occupy a throne,
Where nobody can call you crone.

Some have relied on what they knew,
Others on being simply true.
What worked for them might work for you.

No memory of having starred
Atones for later disregard
Or keeps the end from being hard.

Better to go down dignified
With boughten friendship at your side
Than none at all. Provide, provide!

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Eheu fugaces

As the bus passed up Willard Avenue this morning, I noted not only the fabulous feral wisteria in full bloom–twisting gracefully through the foliage by the road–but also the chokecherry trees thick with their dainty white panicles–soon to become those tiny berries relished by so many creatures. Chokecherries are also VERY popular with tent caterpillars–but there, none of us is perfect.
This riot of bloom and lush green is suddenly cut short by massive apartment buildings, which loom up on every side as you approach Friendship Heights. Lying within the maze of these brutish giants is the ghost of the street we lived on when I was a child–Wooten Avenue. There was a whole modest little neighborhood where now the huge buildings stand, long gone now, 60 years ago. Then, I lived in a little house with my dear family, and Washington was just a small town. Aunt Helen and Uncle Charlie lived in New York, and Bleecker Street around the corner was all families and bakeries. Uncle Harvie was tending his chickens in Maine—and Lawrence was running over the Sussex downs chasing his toy airplanes.


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Yesterday I was preparing the trash for its Big Day–garbage in the black bin, paper in the big blue bin, tins and bottles in the little blue bin. Quite a LOT of bottles–parties, I had been having them. As I maneuvered the various components into their correct configuration, I hit the button for opening the garage door and as it rose, it was like a curtain rising on the spring. Clouds of blossoms from the cherry tree twirled through the bright air, and–how lovely!– the small boy from across the street was dancing with his little sister through the miniature snow storm of pink petals. Such cute! I chatted with their mother, and they came in to play with the kitties for a bit.

There was a memory that was niggling at my mind, and I suddenly remembered what. Years ago, Lawrence and I went to visit Beatrice in Ios, taking the ferry from Athens. We had retired to our cabin, and were roused from our slumbers on approaching the island–“Kyrios! Kyria!” We came up on deck and saw. . . NOTHING. Complete blackness all around. We went down to the belly of the boat, where the mariners were pulling on ropes and lowering the huge door–very like a garage door–and as it drew downwards, it revealed, little by little, the bright dancing lights of the little harbour. And on the dock, walking towards us was our darling girl. Such joy!


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Yesterday I was lounging around doing nothing much when an idle glance at the computer told me it was NOT 11am at all, but actually….noon. The time, in fact, at which I had promised to meet someone for lunch, at a fairly distant location.
Ah yes! That vexing TIME CHANGE–which I had actually, come to think of it, discussed the night before. Obviously not a memorable discussion–or perhaps, the excitement of the occasion (a fund raising gala for my ballet studio) put all other thoughts out of my mind. It had been a pleasant festival, with many of the ladies sporting glittery gowns, and a general atmosphere of genial carnival prevailing. The food, as is usually the case at such affairs, was spectacularly poor, but the wine was poured with a generous hand, and we clapped each speaker (there were quite a few) with hearty good cheer. I ate my dinner and wrote my check, and got home not TOO much later than my usual bed time. After such mad dissipation, who would remember to set back the clocks? Not I.
As it happened, I was only 20 minutes late for the Sunday lunch, and the rest of the day was unaffected by the time change.
NOT SO this morning, however.
When the alarm went off at 6 am (AKA 5 am) it was still pitch dark outside. This is VERY discouraging, comrades. Even the cats seemed subdued. Wondering why I was getting up an hour early, I suppose. The sun wasn’t up until it was time to leave the house.
However, such birdsong on my walk to the bus stop! Such a twittering and tweeting and chirping! Which is possibly a silver lining to this sorry business.

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